Stuff I Learned Gardening Last Year: Seeds & Bees

Posted on Jan 7, 2012 | 1 comment

When you garden, it’s a sobering fact that you only have so many practice runs (gardening seasons) in a lifetime.  A musician might get to practice a particular song hundreds of time to get it right. Unless you are remarkably long lived, gardeners my age might only have 20 or 30 more times to get really good at it and that’s if you happen to get really lucky in life too! Things like summer-heat-domes, spring floods,  or a season off with a bum shoulder can be a real setback. So I’ve found that doing a lot of different things in the garden—things that cover different seasons, or add to the garden in different ways, mean a lot.

As have mentioned in posts past, I paid more attention to seed saving in 2011 than ever before. The photo above shows seeds of New Zealand Spinach collected just before our first killing frost. The top ones were already dry and hard when I collected them. They look like the seeds in packets I’ve bought. The green seeds have since dried out, but I’m not sure if that affects germination. I’ll find out this Spring I hope.

One great thing about seed saving over time is that you end up selecting for plants suited to your very particular setting. This is what makes heirloom seeds so special. You also get to see natural variations in the seeds you grow out like the Larrapin Kale I’m working on. Below is another photo of this gorgeous leaf that appeared among the grown out seeds I saved. Around it you can see the more typical “Ragged Jack” leaves.

Next year I plan to let only these particular wide-leaf plants go to seed, then collect seed again to see if I can get  a kale that consistently shows this leaf. A garden is nothing if not an experiment! And who will be helping me cross pollinate those lovely plants — why the bees of course! I cannot even describe how much joy having beehives at Larrapin has been. Words fail me, but the determination to become adept at beekeeping, is securely on my bucket list…

I’d love to hear your comments. You can click here to comment  and share your garden news.

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One Comment

  1. I love your newsletters. So right on and informative.